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12 July 2007 @ 11:19 am
Naomi Shihab Nye, explorer  
I met Naomi Nye years ago and knew right away that she was someone special, one of those rare people for whom the word POET is not only a career but a way of living. Year after year, I have gone to listen to Naomi speak. Last year, at the ALAN breakfast, she made hundreds of us jump to our feet with her words. She made us laugh and moved us to tears. For Naomi, words are not just implements for her writing, they are dear friends. She selects each one with such care and treats it with such reverence.

Her latest book is a collection of observations about driving and being drives. I'LL ASK YOU THREE TIMES, ARE YOU OK? is exquisite reading. Even with someone smoking down the way, kids hitting one another with pool noodles, and two ladies from the East Coast chattering away in chairs next to me, I managed not only to escape to the world Naomi creates so vividly, I actually flashed back on similar travels of my own. Some were wistful, some painful, some hilarious. Ditto Nye's recollections in this book. Not essays, not really memoirs: these are snapshots of people frozen in a particular place and time along with Naomi who faithfully records the thoughts and feelings and absorbs the words and actions so she can replay them for the reader.

Teachers, run out now and order your copy (it is set to be published September 1) and share Nye's writing with your classes. Better yet, immerse yourself in her language, in her story, in her incredible talent.

 
 
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